We do not break for monkeys
03/18/2010 - 03/18/2010
After almost three days of vegetating on the beach, moving only to procure more fresh squid, sunscreen, or a massage, Dan was itching to explore the rest of the island, so we rented some motorbikes and hit the dusty road. The day before Chop and I had been chatting with some other Americans on the beach who told us about their motorbike accident in Thailand, caused by swerving to avoid a sudden monkey. So I was a little nervous about the bikes. I trust Dan far more than I trust myself in all situations involving moving parts and spatial acuity, so I chose to ride along while he drove. Chop had come down with the cold I had in Cambodia, so she continued to lounge on the beach. I warned Dan not to swerve for any monkeys, and we were off.
In case I hadn't mentioned this, none of us speak, let alone read, Vietnamese, so we were utterly clueless about what the road signs meant. We couldn't find a way to cross the river that runs through the island so going north was not an option. We stopped for some lunch pho and cold coconuts in town and then headed south again in search of . . . anything interesting. Traffic wasn't bad at all although the few trucks on the island have horrendously loud horns that made me jump every time I heard them (Vietnamese use their horns at all times that their vehicles are in motion, but especially when passing). We made it all the way to the An Thoi fishing village at the southern tip of the island and were just getting ready to turn around and go back the way we came when we encountered some people who had been on our squid fishing trip the night before. They had hired a car and guide for a private tour of the island and told us how to get to a great little beach they had just visited, Bai Sao. So we turned around, took a different road and soon found the dirt road turn-off they had described. It lead to a gorgeous white sand beach with water that was even more exquisitely turquoise than "ours" at the hotel. We stopped for a couple of sodas at one of the beach bar/restaurants.
A nice feature of Vietnam that we should definitely import to America is what I'll call the hammock cafe. Basically everywhere along the roads in rural areas (I mostly noticed this in Phu Quoc and the Mekong delta), there are little restaurants where you can stop and have a drink or snack and then lounge in a hammock. Hammocks are everywhere, right next to the tables. It's a great idea! Especially since the heat in this country means that afternoon siestas are just a survival strategy. So we hung out in some hammocks, splashed around in the water, paid a ridiculous price for cashews, and then headed back to the resort to meet up with Chop. We had rented the motorbikes for the whole day, but really an afternoon was enough. Those roads are really rough and dusty and did I mention that Vietnam is hot? Plus my terror at falling off the bike did not lend itself to good posture so my back was kind of aching. I don't know how Vietnamese people ride those things all day long.
Dan and I made it almost all the way back to the hotel before we experienced our (non-monkey-related) wipe out. We were going extremely slowly down the steep potholed hill down to our resort so all we really did was lay the bike down in the soft dirt, but still, it sounds exciting, doesn't it? And I must say that my gallant husband made sure I landed in the softest dirt of all.